Toronto nurse told by condominium to get rid of her dog because it weighs too much
Lindsay McCarthy was given just a week to get rid of Poppy, a dog she adopted 6 months ago
A Toronto nurse is speaking out after her condo management company told her she'll have to get rid of her dog in a matter of days because the animal weighs too much.
Lindsay McCarthy, who works at a hospital in the city, rescued Poppy in December 2020 when the dog was just six months old. She says she got a pet to help her deal with the stress she was under caring for patients during COVID-19.
"Pandemic duties started having a psychological and emotional toll on me," she told CBC Toronto.
"I felt profoundly lonely and felt that getting a dog would be the answer to some of my issues. My dog is my companion."
McCarthy has been renting a unit in Quay West at Tip Top on 90 Stadium Road since 2018. The condominium has a weight limit of 30 lbs. for dogs. Poppy's weight was within the condo's limit when McCarthy adopted her, but she now weighs 47 lbs.
McCarthy says she received a call from her condominium concierge on June 23 asking for Poppy's weight.
"I was given only 24 hours to provide a veterinary certificate," she said.
"I was on my first vacation since the onset of the pandemic but I still got in touch with Poppy's veterinarian and shared all the information I could collect in such a short notice and the next day I received a long letter," she said.
In that letter, which was originally sent to McCarthy's landlords on June 24 via email, the condo management company said the dog must be permanently removed from the building by July 2 or the owners may face further legal action for violating the condominium's rules.
CBC News reached out to Crossbridge Condominium Services for comment. The company responded with a written statement.
"The corporation is not in a position to discuss any matters relating to owners or residents with third parties and therefore is not able to comment," the statement reads.
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Lawyers specializing in condominium law say disputes over pets are very common and they advise residents to make themselves aware of the rules when they move in. Lawyer Shawn Pulver, who is not involved in McCarthy's case, says it's difficult for condo owners and tenants to fight rules like this in court.
"This is something that under the Condominium Act is a certain discretion granted to condominium boards to pass reasonable rules that relate to items such as pets," he said. "And the courts have made it clear over the years that condos have discretion and authority to pass rules on a reasonable basis."
But Pulver adds there are certain exceptions that may apply if the pet owner can explain why the rules should not apply to them.
McCarthy's condo, for example, does allow for service animals and she hopes that Poppy will be permitted to stay once she provides documentation from her doctor showing the dog is an emotional support companion. She says Poppy is a quiet and peaceful dog and hopes that the condo board will understand her situation.
However, McCarthy is still upset the condo management company tried to force her to get rid of her dog in the middle of the pandemic.
"Asking pets or people in the current situation to vacate a unit on such short notice is unfair," she said.
"I don't have children. I live alone and my pet is my family.".